Iraq Military - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Ministry of Defense: Iraqi Army, Army Aviation Command, Iraqi Navy, Iraqi Air Force, Iraqi Air Defense Command, Special Forces Command; National-Level Security Forces: Iraqi Counterterrorism Service (CTS; a Special Forces Division aka the "Golden Division"), Prime Minister's Special Forces Division, Presidential Brigades; Ministry of Interior: Federal Police Forces Command, Border Guard Forces Command, Federal Intelligence and Investigations Agency, Emergency Response Division, Facilities Protection Directorate, and Energy Police Directorate; Popular Mobilization Commission and Affiliated Forces (PMF); Ministry of Pershmerga (Kurdistan Regional Government) (2020)

note: the PMF is a collection of approximately 50 paramilitary militias of different sizes and with varying political interests

Military expenditures

3.9% of GDP (2019)

2.9% of GDP (2018)

3.9% of GDP (2017)

3.5% of GDP (2016)

5.4% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 17

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 200,000 personnel under the Ministry of Defense          (190,000 Army/Aviation Command/Special Forces; 5,000 Navy; 5,000 Air/Air Defense Forces); approximately 25,000 National-Level Security Forces (10,000 Iraqi Counterterrorism Service; 10,000 Presidential Brigades; 5,000 Prime Minister’s Special Forces Division); est. 100-160,000 Popular Mobilization Forces; est. 150,000-200,000 Peshmerga Forces (2020-21)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Iraqi military inventory is comprised of Russian and Soviet-era equipment combined with newer European- and US-sourced platforms; since 2010, Russia and the US are the leading suppliers of military hardware to Iraq (2020)

Military service age and obligation

18-40 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

Military - note

as of early 2021, Iraqi military and security forces continued to conduct counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) terrorist group, particularly in northern and western Iraq

Shia militia and paramilitary units from the Popular Mobilization Committee and Affiliated Forces (PMF) have fought alongside the Iraqi military against ISIS since 2014, but the majority of these forces continue to largely ignore the 2016 Law of the Popular Mobilization Authority, which mandated that armed militias must be regulated in a fashion similar to Iraq’s other security forces and act under the Iraqi government’s direct control; the Iraqi prime minister legally commands the PMF, but most of the militia brigades take orders from associated political parties and/or other government officials, including some with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps

the Kurdish Peshmerga are formally recognized as a legitimate Iraqi military force under the country’s constitution and have operated jointly with the Iraqi military against ISIS militants, but they also operate outside of Iraqi military command structure; the Peshmerga report to the Kurdistan Regional Government or Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan parties instead of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense

at the request of the Iraqi government, NATO agreed to establish an advisory, training and capacity-building mission in Iraq in October 2018 to help Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS; NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) currently has about 500 troops, but in February 2021 NATO announced it would increase the presence to about 4,000, although no timeframe was given

NOTE: The information regarding Iraq on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Iraq 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Iraq 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.